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Jane Jones celebrates the anniversary of the birth of a Baroque violinist who composed a mere 135 concertos for his instrument.
Tonight's Concert opens with the Peer Gynt Suite No.2 by Edvard Grieg which came about after the composer was asked by the playwright Ibsen to set to music his quintessentially Scandinavian play. Grieg responded by creating a collection of tableaux, some of which were later formed into the two separate suites. He didn’t have much faith in them, feeling under pressure from Ibsen to come up with the melodies as quickly as possible, but they were received with huge enthusiasm by the Norwegian audiences of his day, and they remain universally popular to this day.
The Victorian Kitchen Garden Suite is made up of music from a 13-part TV series produced in 1987. The show recreated a kitchen garden of the Victorian era at Chilton Foliat in Wiltshire. The theme music and soundtrack were composed by Paul Reade and they're performed tonight by the clarinettist Michael Collins with Michael McHale on piano. It won the 1991 Ivor Novello award for best TV theme music.
The Italian Baroque composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini was born on this day in 1692. Today, his most famous work is the 'Devil's Trill Sonata', a solo violin work that is so technically demanding that one 19th-century myth had it that Tartini had six fingers on his left hand, making it easier for him to play. Almost all of Tartini's works are violin concertos - there are at least 135 of them - and sonatas. Tonight we hear just one - in D major.
Schubert’s Symphony No.9 was referred to in his own letters as ‘a grand symphony’, and concert-goers tend to agree that it is almost an hour of pure musical majesty. It was written just three years before the composer died, sketched over what must have felt like almost a born-again summer. His ill-health had suddenly and unexpectedly gone into remission; throughout 1825, when the Great was written, Schubert appeared to be completely well. Cue the huge, grand symphony, full of fresh life – arguably more powerful than any of his others. Here was a man who, sadly wrongly, thought he was cured. The fourth movement Allegro vivace is simply breathtaking, in the right hands.
Edvard Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite No.2
Sakari Oramo conducts the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Paul Reade: The Victorian Kitchen Garden: Suite
Clarinet: Michael Collins
Piano: Michael McHale
Giuseppe Tartini: Violin Concerto in D major D.28
Violin: Ariadne Daskalakis
Helmut Muller-Bruhl conducts the Cologne Chamber Orchestra
Franz Schubert: Symphony No.9 in C major D.944
Simon Rattle conducts the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra